As an automotive journalist and photographer, I find myself blessed. We get to drive a lot of cars day-in and day-out. We don’t have any fixed working hours as such; no presentations and no excel sheets and targets to meet.We have lap times, kilometers traveled – and yes – we seldom wear a suit and are casually dressed in denims and t-shirts otherwise.
Fancy life eh? But there eventually comes a time when we too, get bored, of doing the same thing – DRIVING. So how does one take a break from the daily grind? On one such lazy, hot and sweaty weekend after enough of lazing around at home, I went out for a spin in the Mini Cooper D and, what a spin it turned out to be. It took me 200kms from Mumbai all the way to Lavasa via the Mumbai – Pune Expressway.
The road to Lavasa is nothing short of exciting. The Mumbai-Pune expressway offers a lot of straight stretches where one can just cruise along, and the last 30kms is perhaps the most exciting bit with serpentine hill-climbs and savory curves which resemble every racetrack in the world. And with a car as furiously fast as the Mini, the spin was more than worthwhile.
The Iconic Mini Design has grown and evolved over the years. That retro-pin up girl appeal and the volcanic orange hue can be quite a tease, and you cannot mistake it for any other car in the crowd.
Mini now comes with a 3-door and a 5-door version mated with diesel engines.
Dimensionally, the mini is longer by 98mm and wider by 44mm, and a bit taller than the earlier car. All the trademark Mini styling cues have been preserved, except for the hexagonal grille which has now evolved a bit, and the circular headlights with semicircular DRL’s which can also be had as full LED units. Our test car was shod with retro looking 16-inch alloys.
The retro theme moves on to the inside of the cabin, with the dashboard now sporting an 8.8-inch colour display (optional), that displays information from the on-board computer, navigation and entertainment, operated via the Mini controller on the centre console. The engine start-stop button is housed in the centre, while the power window switches now find place on the doors.
The front seats offer a fantastic driving position and perfect lumbar support – all part of an ergonomically-rich package . Having said that, the rear seats which can be accessed by pushing the front seat forward, are very difficult to get in and out of for an adult. There is ample space inside, thanks to the longer wheelbase; two adults will be able to sit in decent comfort for a short drive.
Quite a lot of things are optional with the Mini Cooper, like the multi-function steering, front and rear parking sensors, Harman Kardon sound system, while a few other things have to be ticked from the options list. On the Safety front, the car is loaded to the gills with front and side airbags, curtain airbags for the front and rear seats, three-point seat belts with belt tensioners and belt force limiters, ISOFIX child seat mountings, ABS, EBD, Dynamic Stability Control and Dynamic Traction Control, and the works!
The Cooper D flaunts a 1.5-litre 3-cylinder, turbocharged engine churning out 114bhp@4000rpm and 270Nm of torque. With a top speed of 204kmph, it catapults from 0-100 in nearly 9 seconds.
Aiding the response to the throttle input is a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The cabin is silent, however, a tiny bit of road noise does seep in on high speeds. There are 3 driving modes to choose from; Green, Sport and Mid. The green is more tree-hugging and is focused towards fuel efficiency. The Sport mode is what you’d find yourself in on tight bends and long straights, where the steering gets heavier and the throttle response becomes a bit sharp, bringing out the Go-Kart feel of the Mini.
The car is shod with 195/55 R16 run-flat tyres, and with the new McPherson struts at the front and updated multi link suspension at the rear, the agility of the car is phenomenal, but it does get a little stiff over bad patches of road .
Priced at Rs. 31.85 Lakhs ex-showroom, just for the base car, it is an expensive proposition, as you keep ticking the options list. But considering this will not be your first car and perhaps your daily driver among your fleet of expensive cars, then it’s every bit the buck. The Mini, which now also has the diesel engine to boast about, and has looks that exude style, flair and sexiness, is certainly a matter which the heart and the head would end up having a fight over.
Variant: D 3 Door
Price: ₹31.85 lakh (Ex-showroom)
Engine Type: Inline 3 Cylinder Turbo Diesel
Fuel economy: 21 kmpl
Maximum Power: 114bhp@4000rpm
Maximum Torque: 270Nm
Layout: Front wheel drive
Gear box: 6 speed Automatic
Length x width x height: 3821x1932x1414mm
Boot space: 211 litres
Fuel tank capacity: 44 litres